NREL Releases Biomass Mapping Application

With funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Blue Skyways Collaborative and DOE’s Biomass Program, NREL has developed a cool new web portal that may lead to more bioenergy developments across the U.S.

The portal is a bioenergy mapping tool in which users can start with a blank map of the country. They can then overlay the map with biomass feedstocks to see where certain feedstocks can be harvested and then overlay that information with ethanol and biodiesel plants both active and idle, existing transportation infrastructure, power plants, fueling stations, refineries and more.

The tools are called BioPower Atlas and BioFuels Atlas and by using them individuals and organizations can gather data about biopower and biofuels potential in North America.  NREL believes that interested folks will include “government and state agencies, universities, the petroleum and pipeline industries, research institutions, vehicle manufacturers, investment firms, GIS companies, private citizens, and media.”

Project developers could, for example, look at where sugar beets are being grown and pair that with idle ethanol plants to get a good sense of where a potential new sugar beet ethanol plant could be located. 

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at

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